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Long before the advent of those hideous monstrosities we call collectively ‘plastic bags’ it was bags made from paper which held sway. From Gametes to Harrods in London to Woollies in every high street, bags made from paper reigned supreme. After a few decades spent in the shadow of their evil cousin, bags made from paper are making a comeback, something which we should all be thankful for.

Long live the paper shopping bag

For some businesses the bag made of paper has never been out of fashion although in the main the British high street has worshipped at the feet of the evil usurper. Introduced in the 1960s there is now some 800,000 tonnes of plastic bags used and disposed of every year in the European Union. This is despite the fact that increasing numbers of businesses across the EU are returning to bags made of paper as a result of consumer demand.

Consumer demand is a powerful tool. As increasing numbers of consumers both in the EU and across the world become more concerned with environmental issues, the increase in use of bags made from paper is likely to carry on rising. Savvy business owners are making the change before the UK, like most EU nations impose a tax on the use of plastic bags. Some nations such as Italy already have a ban on the use of plastic bags; a ban which was introduced in 2011.

Shopping Girl Holding Paper Bags

Shopping Girl Holding Paper Bags

 Advertising with bags made of paper

In addition to paper bags being an excellent advertising hoarding for a business, well designed and well crafted  bags made from paper add ‘kudos’ to a brand. As well as being used for everyday trade for the convenience of customers, they are particularly useful as promotional tools at exhibitions, shows and trade shows.

Take as a few examples. If your business is a fashion retailer, a jewellery retailer, or a retailer of luxury items such as perfumes, a luxury laminated bag to place purchases in for customers adds a certain prestige to the entire sales process. To keep the cost down, you can take an off the peg design and size. However, for a little more you can have a custom made bespoke size complete with the livery of the business printed on the side by litho printing process.

The move to eco friendly everything

Consumer demand drives most things, and what the consumer demands the consumer in the main gets, other than lower taxes. Poll after poll suggests that the drive towards an outright ban across Europe will not be long in coming. Thankfully that will pave the way for more shops to adopt eco friendly paper and cardboard bags as the preferred carrier of choice.

They were good enough for us before the rise of plastic bags and now, in a more advertising and promotional savvy consumer environment; it looks like the paper carrier bag is in for a big comeback; and not before time if the public mood is to be interpreted.


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